Monday, July 22, 2013

Mommy Mondays: The Best Laid Plans

A couple of weeks ago I got a great opportunity to actually organize an activity for the members of the Consulate, something I should theoretically do all the time, but given our resources, can't. Bill, an American managing a local golf course, wanted to invite us all out for a free golf clinic. I hate golf. I hate all sports that involve hand-eye coordination and are therefore out to publicly humiliate me. In all honesty, I'd never even played golf, but if miniature golf was any indication, it wasn't gonna be pretty. But here was a chance to plan something, and by golly, I was going to make it happen no matter the cost to my own pride.

The weather forecast for Saturday was sunny with a 30% chance of thunderstorms in the late afternoon. We were supposed to golf from 11-12 and eat lunch afterward, so the 75 degree forecast for the first half of the day was a good omen. And yet somehow, at 9 am, it started pouring rain. Like cats and dogs pouring. It hardly ever rains that hard here, and certainly not at 9 am, but there it was. Pouring rain. "It will pass," I told myself, and dressed Jack in his golfing finest (chinos, a polo shirt, and a little train sweater vest I got him in London). I threw something together for myself, my only regret so far that day that I hadn't purchased Jack a little golf cap with an oversized pom-pom.

But as the rain continued to fall, I started to have serious doubts about our outing. We couldn't very well golf in the pouring rain. Then again, what were the odds I would get every Consulate employee to agree to this kind of thing on another weekend in the next month? Not good, considering how often we all take leave, so we plowed on, with Jack's new fave, "Hogway to Hell," on repeat while I tried not to worry myself into a migraine.

When we arrived at the "gate" of the golf course after a drive akin to Mr. Toad's Wild Ride (which is standard when driving with John in Russia, only this one had the added fun of a torrential downpour), a man in a suit standing in front of a portable building that looked like a dumpster told us we weren't on the list, and this Bill person we were talking about didn't exist. Twenty minutes later we established with this guard (who didn't give a rat's ass about our diplomatic license plates) that "Bill" was actually "Beeeel." And we were let into the golf course.

At this point two good things happened, pretty much the only good things that happened the entire day: it stopped raining, and we got to ride in a golf cart. For about three minutes, Jack was happy. And then, the moment Jack was told he could not run onto the driving range and knock down all the neat little golf ball pyramids, he decided he hated golf. Not only did he hate golf, but no one else was allowed to like it either. For the next hour or so, John did his best to get some golf practice in while I tried to keep Jack from a) screaming b) getting knocked out by a golf club c) running away. On the plus side, John's swing did improve. My sanity, however, did not (and I think we all know it was touch and go to begin with).

Afterward we sat down for lunch, which would have been lovely had it not taken literally an hour to get our food (Jack's french fries came after 45 minutes, so that was something). By now I was a frazzled, frizzy, embarrassed mess, not so much because of my coworkers - who have now spent enough time with Jack to know what an obstinate little turd a challenge he can be - but because of "Beeeel," who was being so generous with his time when I couldn't even speak for three seconds without Jack's screams interrupting the conversation ("People don't like golf! I want to be afraid!").

At the end of the day, it appears people had a good time ("people" meaning everyone but my family). We have been invited back, which has to be a positive sign, and I haven't been asked to step down from my job. I know I can't control the weather, and that it isn't up to me to ensure everyone has a good time even if I plan the outing. But I would at least like to maintain some semblance of control over my own child. To not receive dirty looks from the Russian couple that just stepped of a Ralph Lauren Polo ad. To for once feel like the person I used to be before I had a kid: neurotic as hell, but really good at hiding it in public.

For now, I'll probably continue to make plans that are destined to go awry. After all, changing my ways would be the sane thing to do, and really, who has the time? Especially when there's another trip to the golf course to plan...

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